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FIRST BOND MODERNIZATION BOARD CONSIDERS CLOSING ARROYO SECO FOR REPAIRS.

Byline: Naush Boghossian Staff Writer

SANTA CLARITA - Hart District administrators are considering closing Arroyo Seco Junior High for 15 months for much-needed repairs, making it the first campus that will undergo modernization paid for by the locally approved bond measure.

Its 1,515 students would be moved for one school year to the Rio Norte campus while construction crews work on improving Arroyo Seco's campus, which has extensive wear and tear from years of overcrowding.

District administrators favored the plan that removes students from the campus for safety and efficiency, and because it would lower the cost of construction. Improvements are expected to cost about $22 million.

An assistant principal at Arroyo Seco concurred.

``Our students would be totally off campus, which would eliminate the safety factors around major construction, and it would allow them (work crews) to get ahead of schedule,'' Rick Knutson said.

Construction would begin June 1 and would be completed in August 2004.

If an architect cannot be hired in time, the district could resort to one of two alternative plans, including working on Arroyo Seco with about 1,200 students still on campus, and seventh- and eighth-grade students moved to Rio Norte, or waiting to start construction in 2004 until three junior highs are operating.

Arroyo Seco has been designated as the first school in the William S. Hart Union High School District to benefit from the district's five-year districtwide modernization plan.

In its preliminary implementation report to district officials at the Wednesday board meeting, Vanir Construction Management Inc., which created the $1 million plan for the district, presented six options for modernizing Arroyo Seco Junior High School that varied in moving costs, operational costs, transportation costs, boundary changes and schedule restrictions.

The combination of having students from two schools on one campus would be challenging for administrators, but Knutson said changes like a staggered start time and different lunch times could alleviate problems.

``I think it would be a concern, but for one year I believe we could sit down and work out methods to have less students overall,'' Knutson said. ``Overall, it's a good option.''

The permanent buildings on the Arroyo Seco campus will be redesigned and upgraded, landscaping will be reconfigured to provide more covered areas for students, and parking facilities will be redesigned for safer entry and exit.

Depending on which option the district chooses, construction on the campus could entail demolishing two buildings.

Board members, with input from junior high principals, eliminated three other options Wednesday, including one in which construction would last 27 months and another that slates construction to begin in 2004 and delay the opening of Rancho Pico until the 2005-06 school year.

CAPTION(S):

Photo:

(color) The Hart district board is considering plans to moder nize Arroyo Seco Junior High that could involve redesign or rebuilding of some classrooms.

John Lazar/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 11, 2002
Words:477
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